Notes from the Sandy Alderson press conference

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The Mets just introduced Sandy Alderson as their new general manager a short while ago. A few items of interest…

  • It’s true, Alderson slipped up and began to say Oakland when describing the Mets’ GM job as the “best job in baseball.” A rough start, but it didn’t take him long to melt my nerd heart.
  • When describing his own personal philosophy, Alderson said: “The mathematics, I don’t believe, lie.” He believes metrics like on-base percentage and slugging are important in valuing a player. Also places an emphasis on speed and power. *ears perking up*
  • In talking about the team’s farm system, Alderson views the Mets somewhere in the middle of the pack. He doesn’t believe a large-market team like the Mets should ever be in the middle of the pack in player development. I wonder if his relationship with the commissioner’s office may influence his willingness to go overslot in the draft, but I sure hope there are at least some changes there.
  • Alderson said he has no plans “in the immediate future” to change the dimensions of Citi Field.
  • In regards to hiring a new manager, Alderson specifically said he wasn’t opposed to a “fiery” manager, reflecting the emotions of the fanbase, but also wants a manager to be analytical and intuitive. While he wants this person to have a independence on the field, that individual must also reflect the general philosophy of the organization. In other words, while Wally Backman may get an interview, don’t look for Bobby V to return. Knowing Sandy, that is to be expected.
  • Responding to a question about some of the dead weight on the roster — specifically Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo — Alderson said that in some instances he will make decisions, in others he will make recommendations (to ownership). He also isn’t willing to write off any asset just because of public opinion.
  • When asked if 2011 will be a “caretaker year,” Alderson said he plans to put the best possible team on the field, even with the limited payroll flexibility. He hopes to put the Mets in the position where they can be aggressive in the market every offseason, but doesn’t see that happening this winter.

There’s a lot to digest here, but my first impression is a very positive one. Alderson came across as very intelligent, thoughtful and frankly, inspiring. Mets fans have become cynical over the past few seasons, but there’s a real reason for optimism about the team’s long-term plan this afternoon.

Video: Andrew Toles hammers grand slam in Cactus League win

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Dodgers’ left fielder Andrew Toles crushed his first spring training home run on Saturday afternoon. With the bases loaded and a two-run deficit hanging over their heads in the fourth inning, Toles stepped up to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn and unloaded a grand slam on the second pitch he saw.

Third baseman Justin Turner was quick to follow up with a solo jack of his own, bringing the score to a comfortable 7-4 lead by the end of the fourth. Another three-run outburst in the fifth and an eighth-inning RBI single by Austin Barnes raised the final score to 11-6… which, coincidentally, was the same score the Reds used to defeat the Athletics’ second split-squad lineup on Saturday (albeit with a few more RBI walks than grand slams).

Toles, 24, is approaching his sophomore season with the Dodgers in 2017. He slashed .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and an .870 OPS in his first major league season in 2016 and is expected to platoon with the right-handed Franklin Gutierrez in left field this year.

David Price’s season debut could be pushed back to May

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David Price showed “strength improvements” in his elbow on Saturday, but Red Sox’ manager John Farrell still doesn’t think the left-hander will be ready to throw by the start of the season — or for a few weeks afterward. According to ESPN’s Scott Lauber, the 31-year-old might not be ready to debut until May at the earliest.

Price hasn’t thrown off of a mound this spring after experiencing soreness in his left elbow on March 1. Surgery doesn’t appear to be necessary, but the Red Sox are playing it extra safe with their No. 3 starter in hopes that rest and rehabilitation will return him to full health sometime during the 2017 season. For now, Price has been restricted to short games of catch until he’s cleared to resume a more rigorous throwing program. Via MLB.com’s Ian Browne:

[There were] strength improvements to the point of putting the ball back in his hand a little more consistently,” said manager John Farrell. “Today’s the first step for that. A short game of catch. That’s what he’s going through. Not off a mound but just to get the arm moving with a ball in flight, and he will continue in this phase for a period of time. There’s no set distance and volume yet to the throws.

The lefty is coming off of a lackluster 2016 season, during which he delivered a 3.99 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 230 innings for the Red Sox.